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High schools introduce new religion textbooks
CHARLOTTE — All three high schools in the Diocese of Charlotte will begin using a new religion textbook series when the 2011–'12 school year begins Aug. 24. The Didache Semester Series, published by Midwest Theological Forum, teaches the curricula outlined in recent documents released by the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops.
According to Father Roger Arnsparger, diocesan vicar of education, the process of searching for new curricula for our Catholic schools began soon after the USCCB approved two documents: "Doctrinal Elements of a Curriculum Framework for the Development of Catechetical Materials for Young People of High School Age" and "Catechetical Formation in Chaste Living: Guidelines for Curriculum Design and Publication."
Father Arnsparger then arranged for an education vicariate training led by Dan Mulhollen, a former staff member at the USCCB Catechetical Office, who now is a representative for the Catholic publishing company RCL Benziger. During the training Mulhollen focused on the history, development and content of the USCCB documents to help diocesan vicariate staff understand how to align the high schools' curriculum to the new USCCB directives.
The USCCB documents were then shared with high school principals and religion teachers at a meeting with Father Arnsparger so they could review them and share them with their staffs.
"We began to discuss how these two documents could be the basis for a holistic and comprehensive Catholic high school curriculum program in an interdisciplinary manner," Father Arnsparger said.
He has been spearheading an effort in the education vicariate to help strengthen the Catholic identity of the diocesan schools, meeting with educators and creating an evangelization committee.
"This past spring, we had meetings at both Charlotte Catholic High School and Bishop McGuinness High School with the entire faculties to present the curricula and discuss how teachers in each discipline could use the curricula in their own fields and, at the same time, accent the religion program from their particular discipline. There are continuing staff discussions and planning to create an interdisciplinary curriculum which will include all areas of formation," he added.
–SueAnn Howell, staff writer
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